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A civil servant subject to disciplinary proceedings found in his personnel file a copy of an e-mail he had sent to a friend and colleague in the IT department of the same organization. He filed a criminal claim for violation of the duty of secrecy of private correspondence. The message content was half professional-half personal, but the message title did not indicate any personal content.
The court of first instance ruled that in order to determine whether an e-mail is personal, one must look not only at the purpose of the e-mail, but also at the intention of the interested parties. In this matter, the IT employee had sent to several people an e-mail under the title "budget." The civil servant did not use the "reply to all" function, rather, replied only to the sender, splitting his answer in two parts: one personal and one professional. The management obtained the e-mail by applying pressure on the IT employee, who was reluctant to provide it. All these elements showed that this e-mail was intended to be a private e-mail, which should not have been accessed by the management. The court held that the secrecy of correspondence had been violated.


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